Imagine walking into your local record shop and asking for the latest Britney Spears album. The thought alone probably makes you blush with embarrassment, as you imagine the staff's haughty response. Well, the days of snobby, know-it-all record shop employees end with just one visit to Permanent Records. This Ukrainian Village resale shop/record label is known for its friendly service and scores of underground rock, psychedelic and indie music.
Don't be afraid to ask for what you want here, but don't be surprised if that top pop album is unavailable. Fingering through the organized carts, you'll find Duran Duran, R.E.M., maybe some Madonna, but not too much, because the average Permanent customer won't want to sift through it. If you really want that new John Mayer, owners Liz Tooley and Lance Barresi appear happy to place an order or to recommend another shop.
Permanent Records' small space means the store can't stock everything; it's mostly rock music here, with a small section for jazz, blues and hip-hop. Just before this area, an island holds a film-fanatics assortment of cult classics: "The Virgin Suicides," "Pink Flamingos" and "Fight Club." A rack of gently used clothes holds up the back. While sorting through grungy graphic-tees, Zaireeka, the CEO of the company, startles you as she brushes against your ankles; the C in CEO stands for cat.
Clientele varies from locals and well-known bands deeply rooted in the rock scene to residents of other states and countries (the shop has a heavy internet presence; check out its MySpace page). Weekly updates keep customers wanting more. Due to demand, the shop's metal section continues expanding and visitors express shock when finding albums by experimental and noise bands like Mouthus, Inca Ore and Black Dice. Come Saturdays for free, all-ages live events.
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez